The ancients used gold for healing, to desensitise irritated skin and restore radiance. Today, cosmetic companies are using the precious metal in a range of products from shimmering bath salts and restorative skin creams, to glowing, gilded make-up hues.
Skin, body and bath New Zealand cosmetic brand, Linden Leaves, devotes an entire eight-product range to gold, including a Gold Bar, $14.95 a gold-swirled soap enriched with plant oils, Gold Oil, $49.95, and Gold Salt, $34.95. The Gold Oil and Gold Salt are formulated with gold leaf so fine that it is hand-inserted into the bottles with chopsticks.
"It makes it a quite labour-intensive process," says Helen Schwass, Linden Leaves marketing manager, "but given the luxury of the range, we felt it was worth it. We use 23-carat gold leaf to mimic the practices of ancient cultures we are inspired by ancient wisdom, to give a luxurious approach to natural skincare."
Also drawing from ancient remedies and beliefs is Ayurvedic cosmetic line Ayurda, with its 24-carat Gold Gel, $69.95. Developed using strict Ayurvedic principles, the gel has pure gold leaf in a formula with aloe vera and Himalayan wild cherry to treat skin at a cellular level.
Linden Leaves Gold Lotion, $34.95, which hydrates and gives a subtle golden sheen to skin
Linden Leaves Gold Mist, $34.95, a revitalising facial spritz, with witch hazel and chamomile
Linden Leaves Gold Gel, $34.95
Venustus Frangipani and Rose Shimmer Bath Salts, $44
- Sjä Cela Intuitif, $250
International make-up artist Elsa Morgan can't praise the power of gold as a highlight enough. "It adds warmth to any complexion and gives a candlelit impression that is a beautiful night-time look. A more bronzed, deeper gold will look stunning on tanned skin, while paler skins will shine in lighter gold hues," she says.
"A favourite trick of mine is to apply gold eyeshadow powder to the inner corners of the eyes," says Morgan.
"It also looks great over a smoky eye to brighten up and give an extra glow."
"Likewise, pressing gold cream shadows onto the top of the cheekbones and brow bone can be really flattering and give a warm glow. Do the same on your collarbones.
"Used strategically, gold highlighter can be used to create definition and contour where it otherwise might not be so noticeable."
- Kevyn Aucoin The Liquid Shimmer in Gold, $40
- Benefit Gilded Tangerine Gold Highlighter, $34
- Becca Creme Eye Colour in Antique Gold, $42
- Scott Barnes Flossy Glossy in Gold Digga, $38
- Scott Barnes Eye Ice, $42
- i.d. bareMinerals glimmer in True Gold, $39
- Bloom Star Dust in Antique Gold, $20
- Cargo Glitter in Gold, $35
Pout Shimmer Dust in Angel Sparkle, $44